Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

Legislature, Governor start debating a fix for phosphorus overload

You could call it the battle of the PMTs.

That’s phosphorus management tools. But these days, a lot of us probably know way more about this acronym - and manure - than we ever thought we would.


The problem: Many fields on the Eastern Shore have too much phosphorus, and farmers should apply no more. The phosphorus came from decades of applications of poultry manure, which farmers got at a discounted price from their neighbors or, if they raised the chickens themselves, for free.

Rona Kobell

West Virginia oil spill has Bay environmentalists urging immediate rail safety action

This is one way to describe what happened when a train derailment in Fayette County, WV, on Monday afternoon:  30 cars went off the tracks, causing multiple fire balls and explosions, with an ensuing evacuation of 100 people. One house was destroyed, one person hospitalized and one car crashed into the Kanawah River.

Leslie Middleton

Mark Belton named new DNR secretary

A 1983 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Mark Belton achieved the rank of rear admiral after serving on active duty in the U.S. Navy for more than seven years and in the U.S. Navy Reserve for over two decades. He served in Kosovo in 2001 and in Baghdad from 2009 to 2010. In Baghdad, he was the senior force representative to the Iraqi Ministries of Oil and Electricity at the U.S. Embassy.

Rona Kobell

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes,  and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox.   It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal.   The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber,  is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.   The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level  was drawn down to allow the trees to grow.    Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment.  Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.

David Harp
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Order of Chaos

Photographers go to great lengths to make order out of chaos. A good photograph has a strong point of view, clean lines, generally good composition. In this case chaos IS the point. Anyone who has ever witnessed a flock of snow geese erupt into flight knows that the sight and sounds of those birds says chaos to the extreme.    This flock was photographed with a 200mm lens, 2x tele extender, Olympus E-5 camera, 1250/sec. @ f5.6. ISO 200. The scene was made at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise, thin cloud cover.

David Harp
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January morning along the Choptank River

It was a very cold pre dawn January morning along the Choptank River.   Out to capture some winter scenes (since we didn't really have winter last year). I found this ice encrusted plant and made a photo in the early morning light.    Wanting more drama in the photo I waited until the rising sun barely kissed it and made another exposure. Sometimes is pays to wait for the light.Both photographs were made with an Olympus E-5, 12-60mm lens at 21mm.  

David Harp

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